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The latest information on Alabama weather, tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms, national weather headlines and the science of meteorology in general.
Updated: 59 min 13 sec ago

“Warnings” – A Review

Sat, 07/26/2014 - 18:16

Most of you know I work a pretty long day… up before 5 a.m… not home until around midnight. My passion for weather keeps me going and energized. Unfortunately the long hours prevents me from reading many books, but I was able to finish “Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather” by my friend Mike Smith this month.

For those that love weather, this is one of those books that is hard to put down. Not only is it a history of the severe weather warning system in the United States, it also weaves in the personal story of Mike’s long career.

Most of us in applied meteorology had some event in our childhood that triggered a deep interest in weather. For Mike, it was the Ruskin Heights tornado on May 20, 1957, just south of Kansas City, that was rated EF-5, and would kill 44 people that Monday evening. There were no tornado warnings in 1957; the U.S. Weather Bureau had a fear that that would set off a panic if they even mentioned the immediate threat of a tornado. Mike describes watching news cut-ins during “I Love Lucy” on WDAF as reports came into their newsroom.

The book goes on to tell the story of the first operational tornado forecast had been issued by Air Force Officers E. J. Fawbush and R. C. Miller at Tinker Air Force Base in 1948. These men laid the foundation for the current watch and warning system in use today.

There are many case studies in Mike’s book; one of great interest to me is the mircoburst of August 2, 1985 that downed Delta Flight 191, a regularly scheduled service from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Florida to Los Angeles International Airport, California, by way of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The crash came on the ground of DFW Airport in Texas; I happened to be the chief meteorologist for the CBS station in Dallas at the time, KDFW-TV, Channel 4. The plane went down during the first few minutes of our 6:00 news that evening, and soon it become pretty clear the big thunderstorm near DFW was responsible for the crash, which would kill 137 people.

Guess I can admit it now, but watching the live news coverage of the crash that night on our competing station, WFAA-TV, had a big impact on me, and inspired me to do long form coverage during tornadoes later in my career when it was allowed by management. Channel 8 did such a good job that night.

Mike also look at the warning process for Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina in deep detail… what went right, and what went wrong. It is especially interesting to read the chapter “Murder by Bureaucracy” concerning Katrina.

I do believe you need to know where you have been to have a better understanding of where you are going. This history of severe weather warnings in this nation is a very important story for all of us, and Mike did a masterful job of telling it. I encourage all in the weather enterprise, and those interested in weather, to get a copy. It is a very good read.

Categories: Weather

Sunny and Hot Saturday

Sat, 07/26/2014 - 12:53

It is certainly feeling like July this weekend across the state. The entire state is basking under a sunny sky as a ridge has built in across the region. There are a few fair weather clouds out there, but no showers or storms are showing up anywhere across the state. It is a terrific Saturday, it is just hot and humid, but that is what we expect during the middle of summer.

Under the sunny sky, our temps are hot this afternoon, as most locations are into the upper 80s and lower 90s. Over the next few hours, those temps will continue to increase, and most spots will see high ranging from 91-95 this afternoon. That is right at or just above seasonal averages for this time of year. For your Sunday, we can expect a near repeat of today, but temps could be a degree or two warmer. Don’t worry though, big changes are ahead, as a cold front will be arriving Monday.

Categories: Weather

Hot and Dry for the Weekend

Sat, 07/26/2014 - 06:52

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

The dreaded upper ridge to our west will force itself eastward today and Sunday bringing heat values up while we stay mostly dry across the northern two-thirds of the state of Alabama. Highs will be in the 91 to 95 range today and Sunday with heat indices climbing on Sunday into the 100 to 105 range. But hold on for the weekend, because another major change is coming with yet another summer cold front promising to bring thunderstorms on Monday with much cooler and drier air to the Southeast US on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The upper ridge gets pushed back toward the west late Sunday and into Monday with the digging of a strong trough across the Great Lakes region. This will force a cold front – the fourth one in July this year – into the Southeast US and bring a round of thunderstorms to the area Monday. While no specific slight risk area is defined by SPC, we’ll need to watch for the development of isolated severe storms capable of damaging wind and perhaps large hail with the front on Monday.

The trough sweeps in pushing the front well down into the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday setting us up for cooler and drier air once again. Wednesday morning we could see near record lows for Central Alabama. The current record for July 30th is 61 set in 1994 for Birmingham.

The pattern remains stuck with a trough over the eastern half of the country for the latter half of the week, so we’ll see a gradual warming trend as moisture levels slowly come back up. But with the trough pattern over the East I expect us to stay below seasonal averages with highs mainly in the 80s for the latter part of the week.

Not quite as hot and dry at the coast for beach goers. There will be a good supply of sunshine for the coast from Panama City over to Mobile through the weekend with only widely scattered storms. Highs will be in the upper 80s along the immediate coast, and Gulf water temperatures are generally in the low to mid 80s.

The tropical Atlantic basin remains generally quiet. NHC is keeping an eye on a tropical wave south of the Cape Verde Islands, but tropical storm formation is not expected through the weekend and into early next week.

The big news for voodoo country watchers is the continuation of the overall troughiness in the upper air pattern for the eastern half of the country. This will keep us out of any extreme heat and ever watchful for more of these anomalous summer-time cold fronts which seem to have become the new standard.

And you can follow news and weather updates from ABC 33/40 on Twitter here. Stay in the know by following the whole gang – here’s the list…

James Spann Charles Daniel Bill Murray Brian Peters E-Warn (AL wx watches/warnings)

I expect to have the next Weather Xtreme Video posted Sunday morning. Stay cool and Godspeed.

-Brian-

Categories: Weather

Hot Weekend; Much Cooler Next Week

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 15:35

**No afternoon Weather Xtreme video today**

HEAT LEVELS RISING: Showers, as expected, are confined to the southern half of Alabama today. The northern counties are dry, with temperatures generally in the 88-92 degree range.

The heat will crank up a notch over the weekend; we project highs in the 91-94 degree range both days with a partly sunny sky. Any showers will be few and far between, and mostly over the southern half of the state. The combination of heat and humidity will make it pretty uncomfortable.

BUT… Another big change next week. A cold front moves through Monday with some risk of a passing shower or storm, followed by a cooler, drier airmass Monday night. Tuesday and Wednesday look delightful with sunny days, clear cooler nights, and lower humidity levels. The low early Wednesday morning will be close to 60 degrees, right at record levels for late July in Alabama.

GULF COAST WEATHER: A good supply of sunshine for the coast from Panama City over to Gulf Shores through early next week with only widely scattered storms. Highs will be in the upper 80s along the immediate coast, and sea water temperatures are generally in the low to mid 80s.

TROPICS: The Atlantic basin remains very quiet, and tropical storm formation is not expected through the weekend.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

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I enjoyed speaking at the ALAGASCO service center over in Anniston today… look for my next Weather Xtreme video here Monday morning by 7:00 a.m…. Brian Peters will have the video updates tomorrow and Sunday. Enjoy the weekend!

Categories: Weather

Drier Air Settles Into North/Central Alabama

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 06:22

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

PLEASANT SUMMER MORNING: Feels pretty good over North Alabama morning… Fort Payne has dropped to 61 degrees… we also have low 60s at Haleyville, Cullman, and Valley Head. The sky is clear, and the air is dry in the wake of a front that passed through late Thursday.

Today will feature sunshine in full supply with a high around 90 degrees.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Afternoon heat levels rise; we project low 90s tomorrow and Sunday afternoon, and a few spots over North and West Alabama might even touch the mid 90s. The air will remain dry over the northern half of Alabama, so most communities will remain rain-free over the weekend. A few showers or storms could pop up over the southern counties of the state, but even there they will be widely spaced.

COOLER NEXT WEEK: A cold front will push through Alabama Monday; still looks like it won’t be an especially big rain event, and the best chance of showers or storms will come during the morning hours. Then, a nice surge of cooler, drier air arrives Monday night.

We will be very close to record low temperature levels by daybreak Wednesday, with low 60s likely (Birmingham’s record low for July 30 is 61 set in 1994). Humidity levels will be low for the middle of the week with sunny days and fair nights. Moisture levels rise slowly by Thursday and Friday, but widespread rain for now doesn’t look likely.

GULF COAST WEATHER: About 7 to 9 hours of sunshine each day along the coast from Panama City west to Gulf Shores through Sunday with only widely scattered thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 80s, and the sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 82 degrees.

TROPICS: All remains quiet across the Atlantic basin, and tropical storm formation is not expected through the weekend.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

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I will be doing a severe weather program this morning at the ALAGASCO service center in Anniston… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Categories: Weather

Drier Air Moving Into North Alabama

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 15:34

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

RADAR CHECK: A band of showers and storms is over North/Central Alabama ahead of a surface front, which is near I-59…

Showers are moving southeast, and drier air is entering North Alabama. The dry air will win the battle temporarily, at least for the northern half of the state as the sky becomes clear tonight.

TOMORROW THROUGH THE WEEKEND: The weather will be mostly rain-free over North Alabama; the risk of a shower tomorrow and Saturday is only about one in ten, barely worth the mention in the forecast. Expect a good supply of hazy sunshine both days, and the high will be close to 90 degrees. A few showers or storms are possible over the southern counties of the state, but even there they should be widely scattered.

Sunday still looks mostly dry with a high in the low 90s, but a cold front could trigger a few showers or storms Sunday night over North Alabama.

NEXT WEEK: Showers and storms will end Monday morning, and cooler, drier, continental air will move into Alabama Tuesday and Wednesday. It will be very comfortable for a time when the summer heat is usually peaking; we expect lower humidity and cooler nights. We will drop down into the low 60s early Wednesday morning, very close to record low temperature levels for July 30 (Birmingham’s record low is 61 set in 1994). Moisture returns later in the week with scattered showers and storms possible by Thursday and Friday. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.

GULF COAST WEATHER: We project about 7 to 9 hours of sunshine each day through Sunday from Panama City to Gulf Shores with only widely scattered thunderstorms. Highs on the immediate coast will be in the upper 80s, and sea water temperatures are in the low to mid 80s.

TROPICS: The Atlantic basin remains very quiet, and tropical storm formation is not expected through the weekend.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

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Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…

Categories: Weather

Drier Air Arrives Tonight

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 06:06

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

FOGGY START: Nothing on radar at daybreak, but we do have areas of dense fog across the northern half of Alabama with very limited visibility in places. NWS Huntsville has issued a Dense Fog Advisory for their counties up in the Tennessee Valley.

A surface front is nearing the Alabama/Tennessee border, and as it drops south we expect developing showers and thunderstorms during the day. The coverage of the rain probably won’t be as great as yesterday, but still some spots could see a heavy downpour. The sky will be cloudy at times, and most places will see a high in the upper 80s.

Drier air will move into North Alabama tonight.

TOMORROW THROUGH THE WEEKEND: These three days look mostly rain-free for the northern half of our state, with partly to mostly sunny days and fair nights. Afternoon highs will be at or just over 90 degrees, and showers should be confined to the southern counties of Alabama. Even down there they should be pretty widely separated.

An approaching cold front could bring a band of showers or thunderstorms down into North Alabama Sunday night as the weekend wraps up.

NEXT WEEK: Another high amplitude upper air pattern will become established across the U.S., with a deep long wave trough over the eastern states. Showers and storms are possible Monday, especially during the morning hours, as a cold front moves southward, and we get into another refreshing airmass by Tuesday and Wednesday. Highs will drop into the mid 80s, humidity levels will be low, and nights will be cooler. We are projecting a low near 60 degrees at daybreak Wednesday, which is right at record low territory for July 30 (Birmingham’s record low that morning is 61 set in 1994).

See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.

AT THE BEACH: The weather looks good through the weekend from Panama City over to Gulf Shores, with about 7 to 9 hours of sunshine each day with only widely scattered thunderstorms. Highs on the immediate coast will be in the upper 80s, and the sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 82 degrees.

TROPICS: Dry air continues to cover much of the Atlantic basin, and tropical storm formation is not expected through the weekend.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

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I will be the emcee of the Light The Night Kick Off Celebration to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma society today at WorkPlay in Birmingham today… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 or so this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Categories: Weather

Drier Air Arrives Friday

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 15:48

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

SLOW MOVING SUMMER STORMS: Some communities across the northern half of Alabama have received some big rain totals today due to nearly stationary thunderstorms; the NWS in Huntsville issued a number of flash flood warnings for their counties up in the Tennessee Valley.

We will maintain the chance of a few showers and storms across Alabama through the night as a surface front approaches from the north.

That front will also mean a good chance of showers and thunderstorms tomorrow; organized severe weather is not expected, although a few storms are certainly possible, much like today. Tomorrow should be the 10th consecutive day with a high below 90 degrees in Birmingham.

FRIDAY AND SATURDAY: Drier air moves down into North Alabama, and these two days should be mostly rain-free for the northern half of the state. Scattered storms will be confined to South Alabama, and our highs will be pretty close to 90 degrees.

A cold front, supported by a deepening upper trough over the eastern third of the nation, will move into Alabama late Sunday or early Monday. The 12Z run of the GFS hints the best chance of showers and storms along the front could very well be from about 9 p.m. Sunday through 9:00 a.m. Monday. Drier air will begin flowing into North Alabama Monday afternoon.

ANOTHER REFRESHING AIRMASS: Here we go again… potential for more record lows across Alabama by Wednesday morning of next week. Highs drop into the low to mid 80s Tuesday and Wednesday with low humidity, and it looks like a low early Wednesday between 58 and 62 (the record low for July 30 is 61, set in 1994). This cool airmass will come at a time when summer heat is typically at it’s peak. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

TROPICS: Tropical depression two dissipated earlier today in the Atlantic, and with very dry air covering much of the Atlantic basin, tropical storm formation is not expected anytime soon.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Not bad at all. We project about 7 to 9 hours of sunshine each day from panama City to Gulf Shores through the weekend with only widely scattered storms each day. Highs in the mid to upper 80s on the immediate coast, with sea water temperatures mostly in the mid 80s.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

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I had a great time today visiting the kids at the Children’s Library in Alexander City… be looking for them on the Pepsi KIDCAM today at 5:00 on ABC 33/40 News! The next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow.

Categories: Weather

Scattered Showers/Storms Again Today

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 06:08

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

RADAR CHECK: All is quiet across the great state of Alabama this morning; temperatures are mostly in the low 70s and there is no rain on radar at daybreak. A blanket of moist air continues to cover Alabama, and on the maps we have a weak upper low near New Orleans. This means the weather won’t change much today; scattered showers and storms will fire up later with a high in the upper 80s in most places.

Birmingham has gone eight consecutive days with a high below 90 degrees, and that streak will most likely continue today.

TOMORROW: We project a higher coverage of showers and thunderstorms tomorrow, especially during the afternoon hours, as a surface front approaches from the north. A few strong storms are possible, but organized severe weather is not likely. The sky will be generally cloudy with a high between 86 and 89 degrees.

DRIER FRIDAY AND SATURDAY: Drier air will move down into the northern half of Alabama on these two days, and the weather looks mostly rain-free with lower humidity levels and a decent amount of sunshine. The high will be around 90 degrees, and scattered storms should be confined to the southern counties of the state.

SUNDAY/MONDAY: Moist air returns Sunday with a chance of showers and thunderstorms, and another surface front will move down this way Sunday night into Monday. The 00Z run of the GFS is faster with the front, and brings down drier air into North Alabama Monday morning. For now we will keep a chance of showers/storms in the forecast Monday, but if the faster trend continues we will trend toward a drier forecast.

NEXT WEEK: Another high amplitude upper pattern will bring another refreshing airmass into Alabama during the mid-week period. Not sure this air will be quiet as cool as the ones we enjoyed earlier this month, but no doubt the humidity will be lower, and the lows Wednesday morning should be in the low 60s, with 50s for the cooler pockets across North Alabama. The record low for Birmingham for July 30 is 61 degrees set in 1994… we might give that a run for the money early Wednesday. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.

TROPICS: Tropical depression two is hanging in there like a rusty fish hook, despite very dry air surrounding the system and moderate wind shear. This will pass through the Leeward Islands late tonight, and should dissipate, or become a remnant low over the eastern Caribbean late tomorrow. The rest of the Atlantic basin is quiet.

GULF COAST WEATHER: The weather is looking good from Panama City to Gulf Shores through the weekend; about 7 to 9 hours of sunshine each day with only widely scattered storms around. Highs on the immediate coast will be in the upper 80s, and the sea water temperature at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab this morning is 83 degrees.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

I will be doing a weather program this morning at the public library in Alexander City… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Categories: Weather

No 90s Again Today

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 15:48

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

“COOL” SUMMER CONTINUES: Today is the 8th consecutive day for Birmingham with a high under 90 degrees; clouds and showers are keeping temperatures down.

Scattered showers and storms are in progress, moving from east to west around the top of an upper low that is over the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Those showers will fade away later tonight.

TOMORROW AND THURSDAY: Moist air stays in place, and we will mention the risk of “scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms” tomorrow with a high in the 87-90 degree range. Then, look for an increase in the number of showers and storms Thursday afternoon and Thursday night as a surface front moves down into North Alabama.

DRIER FRIDAY/SATURDAY: The weather looks generally rain-free for the northern half of Alabama on these two days with lower humidity levels; the risk of scattered showers and storms will continue over the southern counties of the state. Afternoon highs will be around 90 degrees, and we should drop into the 60s early Saturday morning.

SUNDAY/MONDAY: The chance of showers and storms will increase again on these two days; moist air returns Sunday, and a cold front will approach Monday from the north. The high will drop back into the mid to upper 80s because of clouds and showers.

ANOTHER “COOL” SHOT NEXT WEEK: Global models are in good agreement; a vigorous long wave upper trough will form over the eastern half of the nation, pulling down cooler, drier continental air into Alabama Tuesday through Thursday. Looks like we have a chance of going down into the 50s again Wednesday morning, close to record levels for the end of July. This will be one of the coolest Julys on record for many Alabama reporting stations if this verifies.

TROPICAL DEPRESSION TWO: TD 2 in the Atlantic, about 800 miles east of the Lesser Antilles, is expected to dissipate, or become a remnant low by the time it reaches the islands due to very dry air surrounding the system, and harsh winds aloft. The rest of the Atlantic basin is quiet.

GULF COAST WEATHER: We project about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day on the Gulf Coast through the weekend (from Panama City to Gulf Shores) with the usual daily risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms. Highs will remain in the mid to upper 80s on the immediate coast, and sea water temperatures are mostly in the mid 80s.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40. We enjoyed having Oklahoma City TV meteorologist Gary England on the show last night… scroll down for the show notes.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

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I enjoyed speaking to the residents at St. Martin’s in the Pines in Birmingham today… be looking for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…

Categories: Weather

Blanket of Moist Air Hangs Around

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 06:21

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

ON THE MAPS: An upper low is over South Alabama this morning, and drifting westward. The position of this feature should bring an increase in the number of showers and thunderstorms to the northern half of the state this afternoon and early tonight. It won’t rain everywhere, but any one spot stands about a 50/50 chance of getting wet. Like recent days, a few heavy downpours are possible. Otherwise, the sky will be occasionally cloudy with a high in the mid to upper 80s.

Interesting to note that Birmingham has gone seven consecutive days with a high below 90 degrees.

TOMORROW AND THURSDAY: The upper low will continue to drift west and dissipate, so we expect rather routine summer weather tomorrow. Partly sunny and the risk of scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. The high tomorrow will be in the 87 to 90 degree range.

Then, on Thursday, an approaching surface front from the north should bring an increase in the number of showers and thunderstorms during the afternoon and nighttime hours. A few strong storms are possible, but organized severe weather is not likely.

FRIDAY/SATURDAY: The GFS continues to suggest that drier air will cover the northern half of Alabama on these two days, meaning most places will be rain-free, and humidity levels/dewpoints will be a tad lower. The afternoon high should be around 90 on both days.

SUNDAY AND EARLY NEXT WEEK: Moist air returns Sunday with a chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms, and another “cold front” will push in here late Monday, so the day Monday could be relatively wet with a good chance of showers and storms.

A high amplitude upper air pattern sets up next week with a deep, long wave upper trough over the eastern U.S., and this should set up another refreshing airmass for summer by Tuesday and Wednesday, with lower humidity levels and cooler nights. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.

TROPICAL DEPRESSION TWO: TD 2 out in the Atlantic between the Lesser Antilles and the coast of Africa will struggle today due to dry air surrounding the system, and harsh winds aloft. NHC expects the system to weaken to a remnant low before it reaches the islands, and it is not expected to reach tropical storm strength.

Elsewhere, the Atlantic basin is quiet.

GULF COAST WEATHER: About 2 to 4 hours of sunshine today from Panama City to Gulf Shores with scattered showers and storms. Then, for the rest of the week and the weekend, brighter weather with 6 to 8 hours of sun each day with showers and storms being more widely scattered. Highs will hold in the mid to upper 80s along the immediate coast, and the sea water temperature this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 84 degrees.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40. Scroll down for the show notes on the new episode we recorded last night with Gary England of Oklahoma City.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

I will be speaking today at St. Martin’s in the Pines in Birmingham… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Categories: Weather

WeatherBrains 443: Gary England

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 04:45

WeatherBrains Episode 443 is now online (July 21, 2014). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

Tonight is sort of a Best of Show. But unlike other Best of Shows that are usually recorded, this is a live show bringing back three of our favorite all time guests. Tonight’s Guest Panelist won an opportunity to attend an NBA game with Bill Murray during the AMS in Atlanta. But she got to Phillips Arena and it was the guy from WeatherBrains, not the star of Groundhog Day. She recently is a recent graduate of the University of Oklahoma and a rising superstar at KFSM in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where she does mornings. Shelby Hays, congratulations and welcome back!

Since we already had a Guest Panelist, we had to make up a title for tonight’s third guest. James has five fantasy voices from the show over the years, and Morgan Palmer might be his favorite. When James’ rolls out the Big Pipes description, you know it’s big time. So tonight we welcome back Guest Big Pipes: Morgan Palmer, Chief Meteorologist none other than KIRO-Seattle. How you doin’ Morgan?

It is an oft-used line in introducing Guest WeatherBrains lately, that tonight’s GWB needs no introduction to our audience. And that is as true tonight as any time I have ever invoked it. He is a return Guest WeatherBrain, having appeared in December 2009 on show #202. He is an icon in Oklahoma, where he recently retired as arguably one of the most admired television meteorologists in America. Gary England, welcome back to the show!

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: 115 at Death Valley, CA, and 35 at Bryce Canyon, UT
  • New tropical depression in the Central Atlantic
  • and more!
  • Listener Surveys: Okay, we continue to drive this topic into the ground, but we really do like to hear from you. Many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to fill out the Listener Survey. The survey takes just a minute or two to complete and provides us with an opportunity to learn where you are and hear your thoughts and comments on the show. Click here to take the survey.

    Picks of the Week:

    Nate Johnson – Updraft: A weather forecasting toolkit for iPad

    Bill Murray – WeatherBrains episode 202

    John Scala – Anomalous Mid-Summer Cold Air Intrusion of July 14–16, 2014

    Rick Smith – AMS Summer Community Meeting

    James Spann – WxGeeks Review

    SkyDavers Blog – The Fog Bank

    The WeatherBrains crew includes your host, James Spann, plus other notable geeks like Nate Johnson, John Scala, Bill Murray, Rick Smith, and Aubrey Urbanowicz. They bring together a wealth of weather knowledge and experience for another fascinating netcast about weather.

    Categories: Weather

    Warm, Moist Air Stays In Place

    Mon, 07/21/2014 - 15:40

    An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

    RADAR CHECK: Scattered showers and storms continue, mostly over the eastern half of Alabama at mid-afternoon. There is very little movement… just a drift toward the west/northwest, so some places have seen heavy rain. Temperatures are mostly in the 80s… this will be the seventh consecutive day with a high below 90 degrees in Birmingham. Quite remarkable for mid-July.

    An upper low is over East Alabama, and is expected to drift southwest, toward Mobile tomorrow. This should mean a rather unsettled day tomorrow for the state, with a mostly cloudy sky and scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms. Once again the high should be in the 80s due to clouds and showers.

    WEDNESDAY THROUGH FRIDAY: The upper low will weaken and dissipate, so Wednesday looks like a typical summer day with a partly sunny and the risk of scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Then, an approaching front should bring an increase in the number of showers and storms to the northern half of the state Thursday afternoon into Thursday night.

    The latest GFS (12Z run) brings drier air down into North Alabama Friday, suggesting the highest risk of showers and storms will come over South Alabama.

    THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: For now Saturday looks relatively rain-free with only isolated showers, but a disturbance in the northwest flow aloft across the Deep South could bring an increase in the number of showers and thunderstorms Saturday night or Sunday. Highs this weekend should be close to 90 degrees.

    LONG RANGE: Global models are showing another deep, long wave upper trough over the eastern U.S. in 9-12 days; this could bring another “cool” and refreshing airmass down into the southern states during a time when summer heat is usually peaking. Let’s hope this verifies.

    GULF COAST WEATHER: About 4-6 hours of sun tomorrow along the coast from Panama City to Gulf Shores with scattered showers and thunderstorms. Then, we expect increasing amounts of sun and fewer showers Thursday and Friday. Highs will remain in the mid to upper 80s along the immediate coast, and the NWS Mobile has been warning of dangerous rip tides in coastal waters. Sea water temperatures are mostly in the low to mid 80s.

    NEW TROPICAL DEPRESSION: The disturbance in the Atlantic about halfway between the coast of Africa and the Windward Islands has become the second tropical depression of the season in the Atlantic basin. The good news is that this is not expected to reach tropical storm strength, and should dissipate before reaching the islands due to harsh environmental conditions.

    The rest of the Atlantic basin is quiet.

    WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40. Oklahoma City TV weather legend Gary England will join us this week… the show will be produced tonight at 8:30 CT. You can watch it on “James Spann 24/7″ on cable systems around the state, or on the web here.

    CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

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    Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow….

    Categories: Weather

    Is Tropical Depression #2 About to Form?

    Mon, 07/21/2014 - 11:49

    The National Hurricane Center has given the designation over the Central Atlantic a designation (92L). Convection has developed near the center and it appears to have a circulation. It is in an area of low wind shear, that is favorable for development.

    It could become Tropical Depression #2. The NHC gives it a 50% chance of that happening.

    It will likely weaken though as it encounters more hostile conditions as it approaches the islands. It still will bring squally weather to them Wednesday night and Thursday.

    There is some chance it could flare back up as it nears the United States, so we will be watching!

    Categories: Weather

    Warm and Humid; Scattered Showers

    Mon, 07/21/2014 - 06:23

    An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

    RADAR CHECK: Rain is falling early this morning over parts of Northeast Alabama’s Etowah, Cherokee, and DeKalb Counties… these showers are showing little movement. The rest of the state is dry with temperatures mostly in the upper 60s and low 70s.

    A broad upper low is over East Alabama and Georgia this morning, and this should keep the best chance of showers over the eastern half of the state today. The highest amount of sunshine will be over the western counties, and most places will see a high somewhere between 86 and 89 degrees. Interesting to note the last time we saw a high of 90 or higher (in Birmingham) was one week ago… Monday July 14. A remarkable steak for the middle of July.

    THE WEEK AHEAD: The upper low will drift to the southwest tomorrow, which should mean a better coverage of showers and storms across Alabama. It won’t rain everywhere, but a number of communities should see a good shower during the day, and highs will remain in the mid to upper 80s.

    Then, Wednesday looks like a rather typical summer day. Partly sunny; the risk of scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. We could touch 90 degrees Wednesday afternoon.

    The GFS continues with the idea of a surface front approaching the state from the north Thursday and Friday, which could provide an increase in the number of scattered showers and storms over the northern counties of the state.

    SATURDAY/SUNDAY: For the moment the GFS is suggesting the weekend will be relatively dry with only isolated showers, but the door is open for a wave to move into the state on a northwest flow aloft, and trying to identify this kind of feature is almost impossible five days in advance. For now we will just mention widely scattered showers and storms both days with a high close to, or just over 90 degrees.

    VOODOO LAND: The European model is suggesting a deep upper trough will form over the eastern U.S. again at the end of July, which could set up another unusually “cool”, dry airmass for Alabama.

    Could we be setting up for another round of record lows? We will just have to wait and see. Check out the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and more details.

    GULF COAST WEATHER: For the coast from Panama City over to Gulf Shores this week, it looks like rather routine summer weather with about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day along with the risk of scattered thunderstorms. Highs will be in the 85 to 88 degree range on the immediate coast, and the sea water temperature this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 81 degrees.

    TROPICS: A weak disturbance southwest of the Cape Verde Islands should dissipate later this week, and tropical storm formation is not expected in the Atlantic basin anytime soon.

    WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40. Oklahoma City TV weather legend Gary England will be our guest on this week’s show, which we will produce tonight at 8:30 CT. You can watch it on “James Spann 24/7″ on cable systems around the state, or on the web here.

    CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

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    Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon…. enjoy the day…

    Categories: Weather

    Droughtwatch

    Sun, 07/20/2014 - 15:23

    Lots of folks across the middle of Alabama, from Cullman County southward to Autauga County have been very dry recently.

    In fact, most of the five county Birmingham metro area have only received 10-25% of their typical rainfall over the past 30 days.

    Click image to enlarge

    These areas need 1-2 inches of rain just to make up for the short-term deficits.

    The GFS predicts 3-4 inches of rain over the next 16 days. We will keep our fingers crossed.

    Click image to enlarge.

    The good news is that of last week, no part of Alabama was in full scale drought conditions. Abnormally dry conditions, according to the Drought Monitor, extend in a big backwards “C”, across Jefferson and Shelby Counties, over to and down the Georgia border into the Wiregrass of Southeast Alabama.

    Click image to enlarge.

    Categories: Weather

    Sunday Afternoon Update

    Sun, 07/20/2014 - 13:41

    An area of showers and storms has been moving across South Central Alabama this morning and early afternoon in response to a very weak surface low moving moving across southern Alabama. The mesoscale models picked up on this feature very well yesterday and predicted there would be showers this morning in places like Clanton, Montgomery, Greenville and Auburn.

    Click image to enlarge.

    Mostly rainfall amounts were moderate, although there were some 3 to 4 inch amounts in places like northern Bullock, Lee, western Lowndes and southeastern Dallas Counties. Auburn has picked up 1.67 inches since yesterday morning.

    There was a good bit of lightning in the I-85 corridor.

    The heaviest weather is now exiting northeastward into Georgia, around the Lanett/Valley exit on I-85.

    ON THE WEATHER MAPS: In addition to the surface low northeast of Montgomery, a stationary front lies generally along I-59 and most of any shower activity that develops through the afternoon should be east of this boundary. In the mid levels of the atmosphere, a powerhouse of a high is near El Paso. To the right of it, a series of disturbances is rounding the top of the high, carving out a trough over the Ohio Valley down into the Tennessee Valley. One of the disturbances was sliding into northern Mississippi and we are tracking another over southwestern Missouri.

    TROFFY PATTERN: Is “troffy” a word? For our purposes it is. Those kinds of disturbances will keep us in a troffy pattern into the coming work week. In fact, the trough may close off into an upper level low by Tuesday, which could lead to increase rain chances Tuesday and Wednesday. For today, drier air covers the northern half of the state, reducing shower chances to around 10-20%. Moisture levels will rebound a bit on Monday, allowing rain chances to return to 20-30%.   If the upper low materializes as expected by Tuesday, rain chances will likely undergo an uptick. This increase in rain chances should continue into Wednesday.

    TEMPS: Highs today will be generally in the upper 80s, except over East Central Alabama, where clouds and showers are limiting the rise in the mercury. By tomorrow, everyone should be in the upper 80s and this trend should continue through midweek, except there will be an increasing number of 90s thrown in each day.

    Categories: Weather

    Return to Summer-ish Weather Ahead

    Sun, 07/20/2014 - 06:59

    An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

    Our weather pattern continued to somewhat complex with a weak front draped across Central Alabama with moisture values high to the east and south of the Birmingham area. A weak short wave moving across northern Mississippi was helping to produce showers across South and East Alabama where dew points were in the lower 70s. Some fog was being reported across the northwest portions of Central Alabama. As the weak short wave moves by today, showers remain possible with the greater risk once again generally east and south of the Interstate 59 corridor. Clouds will once again limit daytime heating but most areas will see the middle 80s with some upper 80s possible.

    As we get into the upcoming work week, a summer-like pattern with some moisture in place will keep the potential for daily showers in the forecast through the middle of the week. Moisture levels slowly work up as does the heat so showers may become a bit more widespread into Tuesday and Wednesday. I expect afternoon highs to climb into the 88 to 92 degree range.

    The next big challenge in the forecast will be the approach of yet another front Thursday and Friday with the deepening of another trough over the eastern half of the country. As I’ve noted before, we don’t usually see fronts plowing through the Southeast during July and August, but this summer seems to be the exception. Our major two long range models are in fair agreement on the idea of the front going all the way to the Gulf but the GFS was more bullish than the European which was washing the front out. The approach of the trough and the front could signal an increase in showers and thunderstorms for the end of the week, but we’ll have to watch for adjustments to the forecast.

    The upper flow with the deepening trough also goes north to northwesterly, so there is some risk for large clusters of storms to form over the Central US and move into the Southeast US, but it is certainly too early to be that specific – just wary to that kind of development.

    There is little change in the overall pattern of the trough in the East and the ridge in the West, so we continue to hang onto the idea of little extreme heat for the Southeast US as we stay somewhat unsettled.

    Beach bound folks will see some decent rain chances today, but the weather should become more seasonal this week as showers return mainly during the afternoon, and most likely along the sea breeze front as it moves inland. Cloudy today with 4 to 6 hours of sunshine but more sunshine early this week with 6 to 8 hours likely. Highs will be in the upper 80s with overnight lows in the upper 70s. Water temperatures along the coast are in the lower 80s and likely to hold there.

    And you can follow news and weather updates from ABC 33/40 on Twitter here. Stay in the know by following the whole gang – here’s the list…

    James Spann Charles Daniel Bill Murray Brian Peters E-Warn (AL wx watches/warnings)

    James Spann will have the next Weather Xtreme Video on Monday morning. Enjoy your day and Godspeed.

    -Brian-

    Categories: Weather

    Another Cool Summer Day

    Sat, 07/19/2014 - 11:42

    It once again feels and looks nothing like the middle of July for the state of Alabama. We are once again seeing clouds, showers, and unseasonably cool temps. Even at this point in the day, temperatures are struggling to climb out of the 70s. I am certainly not complaining, but it definitely is not our typical summer weather.

    Heading through the rest of today, we will continue to see elevated rain chances, and the cloud will be hanging tough, but we will see some breaks in the clouds that will allow some sun to shine through. Where we see more sun, the temps should make it into the lower to mid-80s, where there is no sun, I would not be surprised to see some locations stay in the 70s.

    We continue to watch a front that is moving across the Southeast, and it should be clearing most of the area later today. This will allow our rain chances to decrease some, and we will see our temperatures on the increase as we head into the new work week.

    Categories: Weather

    Still Cool for July

    Sat, 07/19/2014 - 06:51

    An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

    From the National Weather Service, we note that there were several record low maximum temperature values set in Central Alabama yesterday.

    SITE JULY 18 HIGH OLD MINIMUM HIGH YEAR ---------- ------------ ---------------- ---- ANNISTON 80 82 2009 BIRMINGHAM 76 79 1906 TUSCALOOSA 75 86 2012

    Yesterday was not your typical July day with clouds and widespread rain over Alabama keeping temperatures in record territory. The heaviest rain was over the northern and western counties where some spots received over one inch of beneficial rain. Many places saw around half an inch of rain.

    A weak surface low was situated over Northeast Mississippi this morning, as the upper trough supporting the rain will weaken over the weekend bringing showers and thunderstorms down to more scattered variety with the better rain chances across East and South Alabama. The sun will peek out at times today, and the afternoon will be warmer as our high returns to the mid 80s.

    Sunday should be brighter and drier with a mix of sun and clouds and a few scattered showers and thunderstorms. The high Sunday should be up in the mid to upper 80s as we dig out of the “July deep freeze”, as James dubbed it.

    The weather returns to more of a summertime routine for the first half of the week with partly sunny weather Monday through Wednesday with the usual risk of scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Highs should be in the 87 to 90 degree range. Once again the GFS is signaling an increase in showers and storms over the latter half of the week as another a surface boundary approaches from the north. Fronts typically do not reach the Southeastern US in mid summer but given the track record of this July, I’ll have to put some weight on this occurring. The ECMWF is also in fairly good agreement on the front approaching, too.

    GULF COAST WEATHER: Showers and storms are likely today with only limited sunshine, but look for improving weather Sunday and into next week with about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day along with a few scattered thunderstorms. Highs will be in the mid 80s today, with upper 80s Sunday through much of next week along the immediate coast from Panama City over to Gulf Shores. Sea water temperatures are mostly in the lower 80s.

    TROPICS: The Atlantic basin is still very quiet, and tropical storm formation is not expected for the next five days. There remains a steady train of tropical systems in the western Pacific.

    Voodoo country continues to stick with the idea of the trough in the East and the ridge in the West which keeps the summer heat away from us.

    And you can follow news and weather updates from ABC 33/40 on Twitter here. Stay in the know by following the whole gang – here’s the list…

    James Spann Charles Daniel Bill Murray Brian Peters E-Warn (AL wx watches/warnings)

    I plan to post the next Weather Xtreme Video on Sunday morning. Enjoy another cooler July day. Godspeed.

    -Brian-

    Categories: Weather